Webinar Takeaways Series : The Rise of the Transformational Leader

By Skills Hub - 15th May 2020

In this series of blogs our Skills Connector Ian Watkiss has turned roving reporter. He has been attending many of the free online webinars and has condensed his findings into these easy to digest bullet point takeaways.

Webinars are a great way to continue learning during these unusual circumstances. If you want to catch up on what's available check out our News & Events page ... or follow this blog series to see the Skills Hub practicing what they preach and upskilling online!

The Rise of the Transformational Leader

Reflections on two recent webinars:
Managing Change: Leading Change
Truro & Penwith College
David & Goliath – what small and big companies can learn from each other
4Gile Minds Conference - Andreea Gheorghiu

When asked to consider the characteristics of a leader who has inspired you in the past, and how this affected your behaviour, chances are you would list the qualities of a transformational leader.  Leadership can be defined as the ability to motivate others, bonding them together whilst remaining engaged and invested themselves within the company’s values and mission.  Leadership is also different to Management, as it has a focus on the human factor, inspiration and creativity rather than being driven by a mechanised process grown out of a need for pure stability. 

But of course, a leader doesn’t operate alone in a vacuum.  Leadership in action involves the interplay between the leader, the followers and the situation.  And what more of a challenging situation could there be than the current pandemic?

It’s also useful at this point to consider power.  As a leader you are no-doubt in a position of legitimate power, but how effective is that power when it comes to influencing the human factor and to maximise commitment and creativity?  Organisation power will get you so far, but personal power is where the magic happens.

Utilising personal power requires an adoption of the principles of transformational leadership.  Transactional leadership, the opposite of transformational leadership, purely relies on the transaction between a company and an employee, the trading of hours for pay.  But in times such as these we probably need to be flexible in our approach to adapt and survive, requiring different things from our teams and new ways of working.  Plus, in order to thrive, leaders will need to tap even deeper into the resources of their best asset – their people.  Simply put, the leaders who are most likely to flourish right now are the transformational leaders.

So, what are the cornerstone principles of transformational leadership?

  • Mission – instilling ‘our’ mission and listening to the group needs
  • Inspiration – leading by example, engaged in the whole process aiming for referential power (personal power)
  • Individual consideration - knowing every member of the group and playing to their strengths
  • Intellectual stimulation - getting others within the team excited and keeping them challenged

COVID 19: an opportunity to reimage relationships

Transformational Leadership therefore relies on quality relationships underpinned by not just ‘talking the talk’ but by ‘walking the walk’ – being prepared to set standards in terms of fairness, trust, clarity and engagement. 

What new things might you see happening if for example you? :-

  • Reviewed expectations with your team – how are you all achieving your mission and adhering to your values?  What works now as opposed to pre-lockdown? 
  • Show trust – share power to grow powerful mindsets
  • Try consultative delegation – create opportunities to fit individual strengths
  • Aim for transparent equality – how much ‘psychological safety’ currently exists in your organisation?  This term was coined by Amy Edmondson and applies to “an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk, or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive."  The idea being that less psychological safety equals less transparency, risk taking and creativity. 

The Rise of the Transformational Leader

As COVID 19 is challenging all aspects of our working lives adopting a Transformational Leadership out could intensify much needed creativity and collaboration through showing respect, bringing positivity, enhancing communication and acknowledging, factoring in and facing emotions.

if you are interested in adding to your Leadership toolkit then come and speak to the Skills Hub.

Leadership in action involves the interplay between the leader, the followers and the situation.  And what more of a challenging situation could there be than the current pandemic?

Man with a tablet